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By LARRY VAUGHT
Here is how Kentucky coach John Calipari evaluated his team after Monday’s exhibition win over Transylvania:
“We’re still learning about ourselves. I mean, I thought we defended better, and look, if one or two guys break down, you cannot play defense, because we could all hustle and dive and scramble and all this and then you stop playing, they throw it to your man and he scores. And it becomes demoralizing. I like how we started the half. I like how active we were. I liked how we were deflecting balls, how we were flying and spacing the court. I liked that. But look, we are what we are. I keep saying it. What is this, November what? We’re a November 5th team.
“That’s the best thing I can tell you. It’s going to be a process. I’m still trying to figure out, like we spread the court and went pick-and-roll in the second half just to see, because I’m trying to learn. I like the two bigs in together. We’ve just got to figure out if — we’ve got seven guys we’re playing, Jon Hood, eight. That’s who we’re playing. So who starts out of that seven? The others will come off the bench and we’ll just play it from there. Someone is playing better than someone else, they’ll play more minutes. Still turning the ball over. Like at the end I liked that we had 14 turnovers because in November to have 14 turnovers as fast as we play and as much as we attack that basket is a good thing. But we had 10 at halftime.
“Again, let me just tell you, the guy that’s working the hardest in our practices right now is Nerlens (Noel). Is it showing? It’s showing. I said to him, have you ever been coached like this? No, man. He’s excited about being coached this way, challenged and pushed, and now I’ve just got to get a team full of guys accepting the fact that you’ve got to let us define your game a little bit. Alex (Poythress) was okay, didn’t rebound and didn’t do all the things he’s capable of doing. You’re going against a 6’1″ guy, you don’t leave your feet, you come to a jump stop. Just score. If you miss the first one, rebound the second one and stick it in.
“Archie (Goodwin), the first half, Archie was awful. Second half, Archie was really good. First half he was awful. He had two turnovers and he threw two more turnovers to other guys, or three, where he threw the ball in a place where the guy was going to turn it over. The second half he played better, but that’s what freshmen do. Willie Cauley(-Stein) was good. Ryan (Harrow) was pretty good. I thought Ryan did all right. But he still — not enough energy out there. He’s got to play like the 5’2″ guy from Northwood, just go nuts, bounce, run, trap, run, and you’ve got to play that way, and that’s how you got to play and that’s what we’re asking him do. He shot the ball well today. I was proud of him them. He’s getting better, it’s just a process.”